Chivas USA Season Preview

Chivas USA Season Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 7, 2008

Time for another season preview, the other day was Chicago’s preview, today we will shift our focus out west to Chivas USA. Again, no real order here other than ABC order.

2007 Record and Finish: 15 – 7 – 8, 53 points, 2nd place overall, 1st in West, lost in Western Conference semi-final

Player Movement:

Incoming: Atiba Harris (trade with RSL), Alecko Eskandarian (trade with RSL), Keith Savage (SuperDraft), Jim Curtin (trade with Chicago), Kraig Chiles (Supplemental Draft), RaphaŽl Wicky (transfer)

Outgoing: Jason Hernandez (Expansion Draft), Preston Burpo (trade with San Jose), 12 others waived

Questions Going Into 2008:

1. Who is this club’s backup keeper encase Brad Guzan goes down with injury or much worse leaves in the summer?

Currently the Goats have two guys in camp that aren’t named Guzan. Sam Reynolds seems to be the pick for backup from what I’ve read but some people out in LA may be able to help me out on that. I didn’t find all that much on Reynolds but I believe he has been a backup keeper in the MLS system for a couple years (the league has backups all over for clubs who have injury problems, national team call ups, etc…usually these guys only see reserve team action).

I think the Goats are treading on thin ice in the backup department in goal.

**After I wrote this I found out Guzan is hurt for a couple weeks with a MCL sprain. Looks like he will more than likely miss the first couple weeks of the season…**

2. No draft picks, only one transfer, a slew of trades…will it be enough?

The Goats have been very puzzling to me this off-season, they release a slew of guys before 2008 even rolled around and have waived a couple more since then. They trade away all but one Superdraft picks as they trade for a couple strikers in Harris and Eskardarian. I like the move for Jeff Curtin too to help add to their defense depth. I just wonder if it will be enough going into this season as this club will have more games than they have in the past.

Only one transfer in Wicky, which I think is a good move on their part, but no big signing with all the cap space that they got away with the waivers that they did a couple months back. I still think they will make another move or two before this summer as they will try to add to their depth for SuperLiga and the CONCACAF Champions League.

Mainly I am waiting on this club to get a true playmaker in the middle of the field. A true #10 really to run the show. Right now their cast of characters is good in the midfield but I really would love to see this club go out and get a Christian Gomez type of playmaker or transfer in someone who can really control the midfield more than they already do and win more games for them this year.

3. Will Chivas trade Ante Razov?

There was a lot of speculation in the past couple months that Chivas would trade Razov either before the season or during it. Apparently what was going down was Razov and team management haven’t seen eye-to-eye all that much since he has played there. No real surprise as many know that Razov isn’t the world’s best team mate.

However, if Razov is good to go with Chivas this year and isn’t looking to get out like he had been before, then Chivas will be fine. Just a question whether or not Chivas is still looking to shop him could cause concern.

4. How will the club handle September and October?

Big concern for me when I look at Chivas’s schedule isn’t just the extra games in the summer and late in the year but its the amount of road games in those final two months of the regular season. Five out of the last eight are on the road and those first three really concern me more so on the travel side (not so on the who they play side). They go to Toronto and then have a two games in four days swing with New England on a Thursday night and then on Saturday against RSL. That kind of travel late in the season can wear down a side.

With those late road games, this club has to win their home against again this season in order to repeat what they did last year. In June and July they spend a lot of time at home; that is a time that they have to get points (much like last season). Not to say that they won’t have success on the road but they must take care of business in the summer to make sure they will be in good position in the fall to get into the playoffs.

They go close out the season with two straight home games with Colorado and Houston. Just like last year, those two will decide the west this season.

5. What can we expect from Maykel Galindo in year two?

We all seriously didn’t see Galindo coming last year. Some did, I knew he had the speed to really cause havoc on some clubs but didn’t at all expect a MVP-type of season out of him. Will we get that again this year is vital on how good Chivas will be this year. When he is healthy he is one of the best goal scorers in the league right now, but when he is not he is just another guy out on the pitch.

Chivas seems fine in terms of depth up top with Galindo and Razov, but I think signing another striker or attacking midfielder this summer will be key in their playoff run.

2008 Season Outlook:

Again this club is a bit of a mystery to me right now. They are good enough right now to reach a MLS Cup, which means beating Houston. But I question their overall depth right now more than anything. Not their players on any side of the ball because I did rate them all pretty high in my positional power rankings a couple weeks ago (Chivas ended up as the top club in those rankings if you tallied them all up, someone on BigSoccer did that math I think).

I think they are honestly just one more player away in terms of depth from being a serious contender to win it all this year. They are good enough to get to the big dance but I think their depth just needs one (or even two) more piece to really get me serious about predicting them to win this year’s MLS Cup.